Almond Hull Information

Hulls, as well as shells and inedible kernels, can be used as a minor component of feed for livestock, including dairy cows, goats and sheep along with hay and other farm materials. On average dairy cattle consume 5lbs of almond hulls per head per day. However given the recent increase feed prices and the current drought situation in California some cows may be eating up to 20lbs per day. The state average milk production for Holsteins is approximately 70 lbs of milk per day and the cows should be eating about 45 pounds of dry matter per day to support this production. Using the average consumption of 4lbs per day per head, almond hulls and shells constitute approximately 8% of the average daily dairy cow consumption needs.

According to research conducted by the Almond Board of California[1], the percentage breakdown of field run almonds just after harvest is as follows; approximately 20-30 percent of the almond fruit is nutmeats, 20-30 percent is shell and 40-60 percent is hull. Therefore, there is approximately twice the volume of hulls as kernels. Based on a 2 billion pound crop[2] there are approximately 4 billion lbs (2 million tons) of hulls available for livestock feed annually.

Almond hulls have provided a local, economically viable feed alternative for livestock and dairy operations during a time of volatility. Without hulls livestock operations who have had to find alternatives, likely imported feed at an increased prices as we are a fiber deficit State, to replace the 2M tons of hulls.

[1] 2004 Years of Discovery. Nutritive Value of Almond Hulls. Pg. 369
[3] California Department of Food & Agriculture, California Dairy Statistics 2012 Data,




ARE YOUR COWS TRYING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING?The message is simple… Cows love to eat almond hulls! And as any dairyman will tell you, contented cows produce more milk.Hulls are available year ’round and are proven to be a cost effective, high energy silage stretcher. They are a good source of digestable fiber and sugars. Combined with a protein source, hulls can nutritionally supplement or replace expensive premium alfalfa hay. Adding as little as 5% to wet silage also prevents run-off of valuable nutrients. Besides being very digestible and palatable as livestock feed, they’re also available year round. Hulls are competitively priced, which helps reduce overall forage costs. Please see the hull suppplier list if you are intersted in learning  more about obtaining hulls for your dairy.

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